Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their December 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines are produced with grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.
This wine takes its name from the 'Red Moon' which occurs during a total lunar eclipse when the light filtering through the Earth’s atmosphere dapples the moon in red light. This penumbral lunar eclipse occurred on 11th February 2017 during harvest. The grapes are grown on a single vineyard in the Wilyabrup subregion of the Margaret River. The soils are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot are three varieties that are particularly well suited to growing in this area. In the 'Red Moon' wine, the Malbec provides the fruit power and colour, the Petit Verdot the length and texture and the Merlot the structure.
The 2017 harvest was challenging both in the vineyard and the winery. A traditionally wet winter was followed by slightly cooler than average spring and summer temperatures - a cold and stormy October contributing to a slow start in the vineyard. Fine conditions in November with below average rainfall and above average temperatures ensured veraison was only slightly delayed and the slow accumulation of flavour and ripeness ensured the fruit maintained good natural acidity levels. Above average rainfall in March made harvest decisions tricky but below average rainfall and fine weather in April supplied a nice finish for a vintage that has delivered great quality and quantity.
The grapes for this wine were hand harvested, destemmed and vinified with the emphasis on accentuating the fruit character of the grapes. Only wild yeasts were used. The wine was matured for nine months in French oak barriques, 10% of which were new. It received no additives except the requisite sulphur and was not fined.
57% Malbec, 37% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot.
This wine is medium red in colour with hints of ruby. On the nose, there are plum and cherry aromas that are accompanied by lifted floral notes. The palate has a very attractive blend of juicy dark cherry, blueberry and hints of spice. Well-balanced acidity is backed by fine grained tannins on the long savoury finish.
ABV = 12.0%.
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The winery and vineyards were originally owned and run by the Cecil and Christine De Loach. In 2003, the family run Burgundian estate Jean-Claude Boisset purchased De Loach and brought the focus back to the estate's original high quality winemaking philosophy, with specific emphasis on small lot winemaking, particularly of Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The winery's 17-acre estate vineyard has been completely restored and converted to organic and Biodynamic® viticulture, a tradition upheld by many foremost Burgundian vineyards. The De Loach estate vineyards are certified organic by CCOF.
The Pinot Noir is sourced from four vineyard sites across the Russian River: the BCD Vineyard, the Becnel Vineyard, the Heintz Vineyard and the Murray Vineyard. Each of these Russian River Valley Vineyards contributes their unique complexities to the final blend. The vines are grown on Huichica clay loam soils.
Crafted using traditional Burgundian techniques, the grapes were hand-sorted then fermented in small vats with all punch-downs done by hand. The wine was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels (25% new oak) to create a complex, multi-layered Pinot Noir.
Please click the blue link below to see a full tasting note for this wine from De Loach themselves.
100% Pinot Noir.
The 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir opens with inviting aromas of raspberry, strawberry and a touch of vanilla. Silky on the palate, the wine offers flavours of strawberry, rhubarb, clove and plum. It is well balanced with moderate tannins and bright acidity.
ABV = 14.5%.
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The 2017 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).
Domaine Cazes is situated in Rivesaltes in the Roussillon. With 220 hectares of vines planted, Domaine Cazes is the largest certified organic and biodynamic estate in France. It was founded in 1895 by Michel Cazes and the wines are made by the fourth generation of winemakers, headed up by Emmanuel Cazes. The family makes a range of interesting dry wines alongside the regional specialities, Vin Doux Naturels. They took the decision to move to organic and biodynamic viticulture in 1997. Based on their view that the natural environment needs natural preparation, they plough the soils and use only natural ingredients as treatments, arranging their work according to the lunar calendar.
Maison Cazes is set in the sunniest French region. Since the family started farming biodynamically, they have found that the vineyards are healthier and the vines are stronger, with longer roots. Vines grow on clay and limestone soils, covered by galets roulés (the famous 'pudding stones' also found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The low-yielding vines are about 30 years old, and produce 30 hectolitres per hectare.
40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre. The three varieties were 100% de-stemmed and before being put in separate stainless steel vats. Only naturally occurring yeasts were used; no yeast was added to the must. Fermentation was temperature controlled at 28°C. The residual matter was circulated by pump-overs and the sediment was broken up by hand twice a day to extract the best qualities. The wine was macerated for four weeks before pressing after which it underwent malolactic fermentation.
As well as being biodynamic and organic, this wine is suitable for vegans.
The palate is bright with ripe red and black fruit aromas and rich liquorice notes, balanced by delicate tannins. This wine has a remarkable balance, thanks to its good acidity and freshness. Long finish with white pepper flavours.
ABV = 15.0%.
Josmeyer was founded in 1854 by restaurant owner Aloyse Meyer who set about building on his father’s work in the wine trade. Since then, the estate has passed through 5 generations of the Meyer family, with Jean Meyer responsible for switching the entire estate to organic and biodynamic culture. He is credited with elevating the estate to one of Alsace’s greats. After his death, his daughters Celine and Isabelle took over running of the estate.
The 28 hectare estate is situated at Wintzenheim, and benefits from low annual rainfall, some of the lowest in France. Riesling and Pinot Blanc are given the largest sections of the estate, with Auxerrois, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer also growing here. 5 distinct terroirs make up the estate, 2 of which have achieved Grand Cru status: Hengst and Brand.
100% Pinot Noir.
An underrated class of wine if ever there was one, Alsace Pinot Noirs like this one can be beautifully bright, tart and earthy all at once. Fresh red currant, strawberry and a touch of limestone minerality. Excellent.
ABV = 13.0%.
The Chapoutier family motto Fac et Spera – "do and hope" – sums up their patient and daring approach to winemaking. They must be patient with nature, that uncontrollable force, and the winemaker must be daring in his decisions. Michel Chapoutier’s distant ancestor Polydor Chapoutier ﬁrst bought vines in the Rhône Valley in 1808, and today history and tradition abound at this vast estate that stretches from Côte Rôtie in the north, to Luberon in the south. The M. Chapoutier vineyards in the very best sites of the Rhône represent the quintessence of the range.
So strong is Michel’s commitment to treat the terroir with respect that Chapoutier now owns the largest biodynamic vineyard in Europe. It is his personal conviction that “the complexity in a wine comes from the level of microbiological activity around the vine roots”. Soils on the Chapoutier estate never see pesticides or herbicides, ﬂoral growth amongst the vines is essential, and the natural cycles of earth, sun and moon are also considered, as vines respond to these. A consistent approach is crucial.
The grapes are entirely hand-harvested at maturity and after destemming, the grapes ferment in concrete tanks. A daily treading ensures a good extraction of the colour and tannins. The temperature does not exceed 33°C. Fermenting lasts between 3 and 4 weeks depending on vintages. Maturing begins after vinification and takes place in oak casks with a proportion of which being new.
Ageing lasts 14-16 months. 80% of the wine is aged in oak barrels with a majority of new wood. The remaining 20% are aged in stainless steel vats which allows us to preserve the purity of the fruit and the floral notes, which are a distinctive feature of great Côte-Rôtie wines.
This wine is a blend of approximately 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% other (Mourvedre and Garnacha Negra).
This is a richly textured, densely fruity Gigondas, chock-full of lavish black cherry and berry flavors. It's a forward, intensely primary wine but maintains briskness on the mid-palate along with velvet tannins on the finish. An easygoing, juicy wine that favours earlier drinking.
ABV = 15.0%.
James Millton is a living legend in the New Zealand wine scene. A pioneer of organic and biodynamic winemaking, he has ploughed his own furrow for three decades, quietly convinced that his sustainable approach to viticulture and winemaking was the only way to progress.
The Millton winery's own tasting notes for this wine are excellent, so please click the blue link below to see all this wine's details.
100% Pinot Noir.
ABV = 13.0%.
** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **
** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **
** WINES WILL BE DELIVERED IN EARLY OCTOBER.**
"Although the fruit sourcing has changed from the old days, the 2018 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert remains a solid offering in the Jaboulet lineup. Violets accent blackberries and plums on the nose, while the palate is full-bodied, lush and velvety, underscored by doses of salinity and licorice on the lengthy finish. 93-95 points". Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019
"The 2018 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert comes from deeper, pebbly soils and is a full-bodied, opulent wine. Notes of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, ground pepper, and melted licorice all flow to a full-bodied wine that has tons of baby fat as well as sound underlying structure. 92-94 points". Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019
Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with Hermitage La Chapelle being its most famous wine. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.
The Frey family has of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux. Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification.
Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. Domaine de Thalabert, property of Paul Jaboulet Aîné since 1834, is the oldest vineyard in the appellation. The Crozes Hermitage vineyard is the largest of all the Northern Rhône Valley appellations and extends over 11 communes situated in the Drôme, on the left bank of the Rhône. A former farmhouse that belonged to the Gounon family, the building and its enclosure now house Jaboulet's first LPO (= French RSPB) biodiversity refuge, Clos Gounon.
The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.
Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).
See the link below for more details of the wine and winemaking from Jaboulet themselves.
For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.
ABV = 13.5% (estimated, not known until bottled).